When you start revising bits of your book, one thing leads to another. Bringing in one of my characters earlier in the action seemed like a relelatively simple manoeuvre but, once I’d started, all sorts of other things became necessary so that she could appear sooner. And those necessary things are having a dramatic impact on the book – for the good, I hasten to add. Its original sprawl over the first hundred pages (me writing my way into the book) is being tightened and focused, the cut and paste functions of MS Word, not to mention the option of being able to view two documents side by side onscreen, have never been so busy on my laptop. And I’m getting there. I’m a much happier writer this week than I was last. Events are more clearly defined, as are motivations, characters are getting sharper. I’m pleased.
During a particularly doldrummy period over the weekend I read an interview with John Mortimer in which he said something to the effect that he’s only happy when his writing’s going well and if it’s not going well he’s in despair. Well I know exactly what he means. It just messes up my whole life if the writing’s going badly. there was a phase when it felt I was never going to get this book right and, as this is the second major re-write, that felt like a big deal.
Does anybody know which famous author it was who said that what they liked about writing was the sensation of just having finished a book? That they didn’t particularly like the process of writing? I know I’ve read it somewhere but I can’t remember who said it, though I have in mind it was a woman writer. Probably means it was Hemingway knowing the accuracy of my memory. But that’s what I’ve felt like recently – the pleasure in writing had begun to fade and I was beginning to just look forward to having finished. Now the pleasure in the process is back, thank goodness!
By the way, in case any of you aren’t regular readers of Tomorrowville, do go over and read David’s latest post on point of view. It’s fascinating and may spark an answering reflection here in a couple of days when the cut ‘n’ past is assuming manageable proportions…